The connection between the head and the heart is stronger than you may think.
As the leading cause of death in the U.S., heart disease has doctors searching for ways to limit risk factors and reduce mortality rates. Smoking, diet, exercise and hereditary are the factors you probably hear about the most. However, there is an strong link between depression and heart disease.
Cause and effect
Researchers are not able to explain why heart attacks are closely linked with depression. But, they are able to connect some of the symptoms of depression to heart disease. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with depression:
- Feel a sense of worthlessness; and therefore, are less likely to follow a medication regimen or seek treatment
- Are less likely to partake in physical activity, adding to the complications
- Are more likely to smoke, which is a major risk factor for heart disease
- Have increased stress which has a negative effect on blood pressure and cardiac health
Symptoms of depression
Recognizing the symptoms of depression will help physicians and mental health specialists intervene before major heart damage is done. The symptoms are:
- Ongoing sad, anxious or empty feelings
- Feeling hopeless
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Difficulty falling asleep, or sleeping all of the time
Treating both conditions
Because depression and heart disease are linked, it is important that both ailments are treated cooperatively. If a patient's doctor recognizes depression symptoms, a referral to a mental health specialist may be made.
The Heart Institute at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point is one of Florida's most comprehensive and advanced centers providing a full range of quality adult cardiac services. Our staff works closely with your primary care physician and other medical providers to achieve the best results. If you have any health questions or would like to find a physician, please call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5119.